7th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 3-6): How The Good Shepherd Loves
(Adults, the Gospel reading this week is again a moral exhortation: to love as God loves. For the 3-6 year old, for whom "loving "is equivalent to "being" 😊, this reflection focuses on how God loves.)
In the Gospel reading for this Sunday, Jesus continues to talk to his disciples—the people who follow him so they can hear his voice. Jesus, the Good Shepherd, tells the people how he cares for his sheep.
Sheep need to be warm. What does the Good Shepherd do if a sheep is cold? Does he give the sheep his coat? Jesus says,
if anyone wants to...take your coat, give your cloak as well
A cloak is like a coat but it is more like a blanket. When a sheep is cold and needs warmth, the Good Shepherd wraps the sheep in his cloak and his coat! The Good Shepherd always gives abundantly—more than enough. How much he loves his sheep!
Sheep need to be safe. What if a sheep wanders away from the Good Shepherd and gets lost? Will the Good Shepherd go after that sheep? Jesus says,
if anyone forces you to go one mile, go also the second mile.
He will go far, and even further, to get to that sheep. How much he loves his sheep!
Give to everyone who begs from you, and do not refuse anyone who wants to borrow from you.
If a sheep begs, that means it needs something. The Good Shepherd always gives to someone who has a need. How much he loves his sheep!
There is nothing the Good Shepherd will not do for his sheep! The sheep of the Good Shepherd must be very happy indeed.
But are the sheep of the Good Shepherd always happy?
Are the sheep always in good moods? What about bad moods? We know about bad moods.
We wonder if sheep of the Good Shepherd ever feel angry or upset, ever cry when others laugh, ever scream when others sing. We know this happens to us. Perhaps it happens to the sheep.
What does the Good Shepherd do then?
What does God do?
he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.
God gives the warmth of the sun to each sheep! God gives rain to wash in, rain to drink—to each sheep! It does not matter if they are angry or joyful, if they scream or sing, if they have a good mood or a bad mood. The Good Shepherd gives to all. He loves them all!
We can wonder, then, what happens to that angry sheep...
...when the Good Shepherd wraps it in his warm and cozy cloak?
...when the Good Shepherd walks for miles and miles to find it?
...when the Good Shepherd lifts it up onto his shoulders?
How close it would be to the Good Shepherd! Could it still be in a bad mood?